Asobi Seksu | 05.09.09

live_asobi-seksu.jpgSmall-framed Chikudate stands out among them all, with a voice as powerful on the stage as it is in the studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firebird, St Louis

Whoever said shoegaze bands were all emo and lacked entertainment value obviously wasn’t familiar with Asobi Seksu. Don’t let this band fool you with the melodic nature of their latest installment, Hush, nor its lead singer Yuki Chikudate’s angelic vocals. Live, the bass is crippling and, needless to say, everyone goes home happy.

This St. Louis appearance marked their first in this city in three years. After trotting the globe since February, it was pure luck that St. Louis was one of the few cities to be added last minute. Their venue of choice: the Firebird, a small basement of sorts tucked discreetly under a downtown building. With smoky and oddly placed seating, Asobi Seksu made up in performance what the venue lacked in atmosphere.

The show opened with local musician Math You taking the stage alone with his guitar. In a relaxing and intimate fashion, you could tell that even though people weren’t paying much attention, they seriously dug his sound. With just a chair and a microphone, he sat down and soothed the audience with his indie sound and modest appearance. Imagine John Mayer a little more ambient with maybe a random emo moment now and then. You’ll want to check out Math You’s MySpace page (www.myspace.com/mathyoumusic) to hear "Inside Voices," probably one of the best tracks off his album Music for Girls. After almost an hour on stage, another local indie/psychedelic group by the name of Stella Mora emerged to up the ante and bring the crowd to their feet. The five-member band brought it full throttle and, after an hour of play, handed the stage over to New York’s Asobi Seksu.

Surrounded by three fellow band members all tall and lengthy, small-framed Chikudate still stands out among them all, with a voice as powerful on the stage as it is in the studio; I honestly found myself studying her vocals to make sure it wasn’t a recording. As little as she is, her voice is amazing and strong on its own. The album, while amazing in itself, downplays the profound and electrifying experience of their live performance.

Even though the band consists of three guys and a girl, it goes without saying that Chikudate has become the face of Asobi Seksu. While most people tend to concentrate on Chikudate’s performance over the rest of the band, her role has become the focal point of the entire Asobi Seksu experience. From her high, indistinguishable siren vocals that waver between English and Japanese to her dominating moves behind the keyboard, Chikudate takes the lead position all on her own. More than a pretty face, the graduate of the Manhattan School of Music takes every opportunity to show off her talents, from her spellbinding voice to her work on the keyboards, tambourine and jaw-dropping drum solo. | Jennifer Manjarez

If you missed their most recent appearance, you can catch a KDHX interview and in-studio performance from before their Firebird gig..

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